The DLSU Green Archers opened their FilOil EcoOil Preseason Cup with an emphatic win against the FEU Tamaraws, 65-49, at the FilOil EcoOil Centre earlier today, July 23.
Bright Nwankwo led DLSU in scoring as he posted 14 points, while bigman Michael Phillips anchored the paint by recording a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Upcoming rookie Jcee Macalalag showcased an impressive performance, adding 12 points and three boards in the win for the Green and White.
Despite the tough loss, Bryan Sajonia and LJay Gonzales paced FEU by scoring 10 points apiece.
Phillips opened the scoring for DLSU with a left baseline jumper, 2-0. However, both squads went on a dry spell after the opening basket. CJ Austria broke La Salle’s scoring drought with a layup coming from an Evan Nelle steal, 4-0. FEU scored their first basket of the game only at the 6:01 mark coming from Torres’ three-pointer to cut La Salle’s lead, 5-3. The team from Taft muscled their way inside as Phillips and Nwankwo asserted their towering height advantage against FEU’s bigs. The Green and White went on a seven-to-nothing run to gain a 12-3 advantage with 2:19 left in the opening period. Macalalag then broke free from FEU’s pesky defense and scored a tough basket in the paint, 15-6, adding to DLSU’s scoring punch early on. Tamaraw Patrick Sleat countered by scoring inside as well to cut the DLSU lead to seven at the end of the opening quarter, 15-8.
La Salle’s secondary unit continued to add points on the board and showed no rust as Nwankwo cleaned up his own missed basket to extend the lead, 17-8. The Green Archers held the Tamaraws scoreless for three minutes and twenty seconds until Bautista’s basket trimmed DLSU’s lead to 12, 23-11. Macalalag and Mark Nonoy went on to torch FEU’s interior defense and easily scored inside to build a 16-point lead for DLSU, 27-11. FEU head coach Oslen Racela was forced to call a timeout after La Salle’s scoring barrage, to which his team answered the call. As DLSU turned the ball over in the dying minutes of the second quarter, FEU took advantage with a 13-to-4 run. This brought the La Salle lead to a respectable margin going to the halftime break, 31-24.
Coming off a dominant first half, the Green Archers opened the third quarter cold as they could not buy a basket to extend their lead. Subsequently, the Tamaraws went on a swift 10-2 run to put themselves up by one, 34-33, with 6:13 left in the third period off an LJay Gonzales layup. DLSU’s second half scoring came off free throws, with DLSU’s Raven Cortez splitting his shots at the line to tie the game, 34-all, with 5:47 remaining in the third quarter.
In the next possession, the Taft-based squad broke the field goal drought with a Phillips putback after a Cortez freebie miss. An Austria steal then led to a Cortez lay-in. With DLSU turning the period around with 5:47 left to go, the team did not take their foot off the gas. Nonoy’s substitution continued to wreak havoc on the offensive end as FEU could not find an answer to the sudden shift in momentum. After a shaky start to the second half, the Green Archers saw their lead balloon to 13, 51-38, heading into the final quarter.
The Greenand White looked determined to finish the game strong as Nelle opened the final period with a corner jumper to extend the lead, 53-38. Fortunately for La Salle, the team’s lead blew up to as much as 22 with 5:16 remaining. The run was highlighted by a Joaqui Manuel fadeaway jumper, a Phillips hook shot, and a Nwankwo five-footer off a slick feed from the aforementioned Phillips.
The Tamaraws looked defeated toward the tail end of the game. Racela then decided to clear his bench to finish the lopsided affair after his regulars could not stop the Green Archer’s fourth period scoring barrage. DLSU head coach Derrick Pumaren then brought in his third stringers as well to end the game on a high note, with Cortez’s three-pointer being the icing on the cake as DLSU toppled FEU, 65-49.
After winning with a double-digit advantage, Pumaren commented on his team’s turnovers, “At least we were able to control our turnovers, [not like the last game] against San Sebastian because we were losing 20 points off turnovers. We can’t have that.”
The veteran coach also added that the preseason benefits the team, “Probably meron tayong 20 to 25 games—that’s a very good number for us to build our chemistry. There are some guys that really need to play.”
After the outing, DLSU opened its 2022 FilOil EcoOil Preseason Cup with a mark on the win column. The DLSU Green Archers’ next assignment is against the SBU Red Lions next Sunday, July 31, at the same venue.
DLSU 65 – Nwankwo 14, Macalalag 12, Phillips 12, Cortez 8, Nonoy 7, Manuel 5, Austria 3, Abadam 2, Nelle 2, Alao 0, Buensalida 0, Escandor 0, Estacio 0
FEU 49 – Sajonia 10, Gonzales 10, Songcuya 6, Alforque 6, Bautista 5, Tempra 3, Torres 3, Faty 2, Sandagon 2, Sleat 2, Dulatre 0, Gravera 0, Guibao 0, Rosete 0
Quarter Scores: 15-8, 31-24, 51-38, 65-49